Poetry for Strangers is about finding inspiration in community, in people, in the chance encounters of everyday life. PFS suggests that every person can be a “muse” of a poem. Every week of this year I will ask a stranger for a single word and then write a poem inspired by the word. I invite you to do the same.

Share your poem on this week’s word!


Hauling my 7-month-old son onto an airplane over the holidays, I apologized to the person sitting next to me that she’d have to sit next to a baby. “Not a problem!” she responded. “I’ve got five free drink coupons.” And to the baby’s credit, she didn’t need to use any.

The Stranger: Megan

Her Word: Fuselage

The poem I wrote:

For M&M

Having fun in an airplane
is one of those skills, like sleeping
standing up, that must be
evolutionarily sound: you keep
safe from boredom, wake
for life or a crisis. Falling
in love is always first a crisis,
though a welcome one: You can
live without wings. I know
two who met in the air,
falling in love in the fuselage,
the part of the airplane where
the heart lives. He taller
than God and she my size
and yet she bumped her head
on the overhead. Ouch!
he said, stunned that the hurt
head wasn’t his. He missed
his next flight to find her.

The Challenge: Do you have a poem in you on this word? Write one here.